21 July 2021 | Whitsunday Islands
15 July 2021 | The Coral Sea Resort
11 July 2021 | The a Great Barrier Reef
07 July 2021 | The Barrier Reef
04 July 2021 | Middle Percy Island
30 June 2021 | Underway headed for Middle Percy Island
07 June 2021 | Gold Coast
25 July 2015 | The Yard Brisbane Ship Lifts Murarrie
01 September 2014 | Nara Inlet
01 September 2014 | Nara Inlet
15 August 2014 | Lady Musgrave Island
11 July 2014 | Middle Percy Island
30 December 2013 | Southport Gold Coast
15 December 2013 | Brisbane River
17 September 2013 | Brisbane River
28 July 2013 | Bundaberg to Brisbane Sail
28 July 2013 | Bundaberg to Brisbane
06 May 2013 | Brisbane Australia
Our River City
06 March 2022 | Brisbane River
Jenny Gaskell | Wet - heavy rain system
Whilst weather and tide checks are not uncommon in our daily lives, I and every other Brisbanite have never checked an app as often as in the week passed. This weather was reminiscent of the severe weather He Who Hums and I rode out 2013 as river dwellers. We sailed out of the Brisbane river in 2019 after 8 lovely years under the Story Bridge and relocated to Southport Yacht Club where a Condesa safely awaits our weekly sleepovers.
However in Brisbane last week, there really was no point in the tracking weather, as the mass of rain hung relentlessly over Brisbane, surprising us all by the intense deluge and rapid rise of our river.
From our elevated inner city doorstep beside the Mowbray Ferry terminal, I watched the never ending procession of people flock to the broken banks of this raging torrent, trying to understand where the outrageous noise stemmed from.
She, our Brisbane river was confused and the white-water broiled through our normally tranquil waters. All of us disbelieving of the number of pontoons, boats, jetskies, trees, logs and horrendous amounts of debris tumbling hopelessly downstream hitting a docked ferry overturning it. The added shock of seeing the houseboat collide with a fixed structure and swallowed up whole before anyone could count 'one-missassissippi-two'. The real fear for people who might fall into this water-trap because the undercurrent was far greater than what we could see. Some miraculously survived, sadly others didn't. These painful reports nibbled away at each and everyone's heart. But they kept coming, trying to digest the carnage unfolding on the river before them.
By viewing it up close, it helped the inconceivable breaking news of ..."A years worth of rain in less than a week" become somewhat more believable.
Meanwhile our winding, snake like river struck random suburbs with venom. The cruelty paralysing the people not once but twice, even three times over the past decade.
So many residents were again traumatised by the rising muddied waters, reliving the nightmare that was 2011 & 2013 events.
And, as for the homes she slithered past without a sideways glance, well they lived in fear as well, simply because of the nature of the beast known as 'flash flooding'.
No one felt safe, not even when the sun came out..... and for good reasons. As it turned out, just when they had finally cleared their household possessions onto the streets, aired and cleaned their muddied ceilings, walls and floors the rain began again and neither the people or the river had had a chance to rest.
The nightmare continues in the aftermath, but in true Aussie style the strength, kindness and dedication of so many who join the Mud Army rise to the surface and some faith, hope and charity is restored back into the hearts of all.
Lost and Found
08 December 2021 | Gold Coast Queensland
Remember when you twirled around and around whilst looking up to the sky and then dropped to the grass? Well, that’s what it’s like to come home so close to Christmas. 😆
The long term effects from 6 months of drifting and discovery should only be feelings of euphoria and calmness. But let me tell you, when you get back into the city the change of pace sticks it’s foot out and trips you up almost knocking that euphoria clean out of you. When you hit the ground, every beautiful thing you’ve experienced quickly becomes a time lapse story in your minds eye. You simply cling to snippets of the most momentous and minute moments that make up the tapestry of the adventure.
People have asked what it feels like to come back from such a journey. It’s a hard one to answer, but we feel pretty well centered, satisfied and fulfilled to put it in a nutshell. But I have to admit we are still finding our balance in a world that feels off kilter.
However to see the joys of Christmas reflected in the eyes of your grandchildren brings us both back to where we love to be.
So I’ve made it my mission to write our own headlines and create new exciting adventures each day to become our new momentous and minuscule news that takes us somewhere.
Merriest Christmas to you all!
May 2022 be everything you dream up and more.
Home sweet Home
20 November 2021 | Southport Yacht Club
Jenny Gaskell | ENE followed by NW Flat seas
The majestic overnight sail under the lunar eclipse of the moon was the perfect and fitting final leg of our FNQ sailing adventures.
Condesa in all her might has covered
5,000 Klm or 2,500 nautical miles since 10th June, gracing Queensland's beautiful coastline gems along the way.
Wide Bay Bar had our full attention from 7am sharp 18th November. Like every other leg, He Who Hums weighed the anchor and set the sails. I was at the helm, and proof that the bar was ready for us was the sight I had of the Captain remaining out the front decks watching the small breaking waves here, there and everywhere around us as I navigated the coordinates marked. He called the final shot taking the best path through the last segment that had 5ft under the keel. Before we knew it the morning was behind us as was the smiling assassin, The Wide Bay Bar.
We could now say we were "officially" headed for home, confident the overnight sail would be the easiest part of our day.
Noticing Coolum Beach around 2pm (👋🏻 sis) and Nth Stradbroke (👋🏻bro) around 10pm, we calculated our SYC docking for around 2.30am.
The day sail was a light ENE breeze resulting in a motor sail, and ending with NW breeze which helped flatten the seaway.... a nice welcome back to us! 🤗
Literally like ships in the night we heard the log-on radio call with Seaway tower from one lonely vessel headed for Iluka NSW. Soon enough we spotted the tiny navigational lights coming through with the rise and fall of the seaway swell.
We, not long after radioed Seaway tower (knowing Tin Can Bay had forwarded our details onto them). We thanked them for their coverage and advised we were safely back inside the pass.
With that we turned silently into the sleeping Broadwater where all the background lights streamed across our path making it near impossible to identify the channel markers we know so well. It still astounds me that they are intermittent flashing single lights that always feel like an eternity when waiting to confirm your one red or green marker against the ever changing traffic lights in the background. Once your eyes adjust to life back in civilisation things become a little clearer.
So looking way back to June on our first day out where everything seemed against us, I can say our last day had been the complete opposite. Everything unfolded in our favour for our return passage.
Another docking in the dark but knowing our home pen like the back of our hand, we can almost do blindfolded.
We shutdown Condesa's navigational systems and turned out her steaming lights, lavishing her with the praise she deserved as we opened up all her portholes to let the perfect sleeping breeze in.
It was now 3am our supper ritual was ladened with respect and gratitude all round.
Until next year it's goodnight from us three, and a warm thank-you from me for following Condesa's voyage and my ramblings with your messages of support and interest.
👨🏼✈️He Who Hums
🥰 & moi!
17 November 2021 | The Great Sandy Straights
Jenny Gaskell | North, South , East and West mix
Do you remember Professor Julius Sumner Millar?
Well, the planning required to return to the Gold Coast is a complex mathematical equation.
I reckon He Who Hums needs a whiteboard so I can keep up with the calculations. The passage through The Great Sandy Straights behind Frazer Island is nothing short of a long division.
Wind, weather, depths, dates, tide, depths, moon, rain, depths, sunrise, sunset, timing, anchorages, depths. 🤓📱📈📆 (getting the picture?)
Anyone who is brave enough to take a large vessel through the shifting sands of the Straights with a 2.7 draft is either ---- or ----. Feel free to fill in the gaps.
You need to take a run through here with a GPS in one hand and a plumb bob in the other. 😂
On our way north we were right next to the chanel marker and our depth sounder read 4ft - next minute we felt sand but luckily skipped off.😳
It is in this region other sailors take photos of Condesa, not because she is photogenic, it's because there's a chance to make news should she get stuck on a sandbar. And no one wants to see a snap of themselves laying on their side in The Great Sandy Straights, trust me.
The alternative is to sail on the outside of Frazer Island, which takes another whiteboard equation with a trustworthy 5day weather forecasting plus everything else required for a 48hr straight sail to the GC seaway.
He Who Hums had lured me away from Bundaberg with a pit-stop promise at Kingfisher Bay Resort. Oh, we were going to hike, swim, rest (and pretty sure he said dine out), whilst waiting for the weather window. 🤗
However, as it turned out, that promise had to be aborted due to ridiculously uncomfortable anchorage conditions, (but those northerlies were helpful in blowing us there). 🌊 🌬 💨
By this stage his focus was fine tuned towards the ongoing calculations for the shallow Straights ahead and the Wide Bay Bar conditions further on. So I pretended I didn't see the resort palm trees as Condesa was blown past to anchor a few nautical miles further on. Calmer waters but right nearby one of the 23 ship wrecks on Frazer ☠️, just saying.
Here we perched and so achieved odd jobs like recalibrating our depth sounder, knowing as each day passes we have a even higher tide. The equation was making He Who Hums a tad more comfortable. We were in prime position to move through the straights first thing in the morning on the last of the incoming high tide at the trickiest spot. 🧑🏫👌
"Why is it so?"
It is a juggling act.🤹♂️ I weigh these moments against all the privileges we have enjoyed this sailing season and it doesn't take a physicist to see the scales have been tipped heavily in our favour. So we do what we need to do
out here, all compromises made with our eye on the prize.
The prize you ask?
= Our people!
🥰 See you all very soon!
Floating in Ecstasy
13 November 2021 | Coral Sea
Jenny Gaskell | 15knts SSE clear skies
We are in for the long-haul, well a 20 hour straight sail from Yeppoon to Bundaberg is hardly long but here we are heading south off the Queensland coast of Australia (for those reading this elsewhere).
Beginning our overnight leg with one of those slow motion sunsets, where a kaleidoscope of pinks and blues from the east bleed into the yellow and orange blaze of the setting sun. 🙉Nature!
All these colours and more are reflected upon the seas, creating a calming hue for Condesa to sail through.
Our estimated time of arrival has Condesa in Bundaberg's Burnett River around mid to late morning, if all goes to plan. Should there be no room at the inn so to speak we will refuel and keep going.
Our late afternoon sea breeze off Yeppoon held on long enough to keep us slightly healed and on a straight path south until just after dinner.
We settled together in the cockpit with just enough comforts to keep us cosy, but not too cosy to go off dreaming about the romantic Cathedral Caves I meant to share with you before leaving Rockhampton. However, if ever you're looking to find inner peace, it is also lurking in the cool, dripping, darkness of that Cathedral cave. On the cave tour when the lights above fade out, they play a slow rendition of Alleluia, until you are rightly stirred about every story of our land and nature's hand in that.
Tonight it is equally as fresh and beautiful out here, a sure sign the wind was no longer coming from the North West.
Now that I have shared a lovely meal with He Who Hums, and knowing power napping is my specialty I'm noticing Condesa's soothing white noise is taking affect. So you can see why we roster times to each nap until refreshed.
It could have been 10...15...or 30 minutes, I'm not sure but I woke to see the same Southern Cross pointers in my patch of sky above. And within that instant a single shooting star soared and evaporated in a nano second! I took that freak timing as a sign that everything was as perfect as could be out here. It must be my turn to stand guard for He Who Hums.
We are chipping away the nautical miles whenever the wind gods allow us!
Keep dreaming 😘
06 November 2021 | Keppel Bay Marina
Jenny Gaskell | Changeable
I've got to say, there's not too much sailing info to report back atm. Oh and there's no need to point the finger, as everyone on the eastern seaboard knows who is responsible for the delay in sailing back to our home port.
However, we have really enjoyed the company of many other sailing people, plus the furry four legged kind 🐶in Keppel Bay Marina. There is one happy miniature fox terrier 🐶, nearby us who bolts from 100 paces the minute he spots me on the dock. I kinda feel the same way, but hold my position ready for his leap of love.
So relatable, knowing this last leg of our journey home is only a matter of days once we commit. Just the thought gets you like this. 🤍
Patience! - To quote Pedro (again) is the FIRST thing you learn when sailing!
"Let's go sailing in stormy weather" said no one ever! Big masts and lightening will NEVER be compatible. Vessels with smaller drafts can seek shelter and are leaving this weekend. Unfortunately our next port, Bundaberg marina is booked out and there are no places we can hide from the predicted storms.
So the decision has been made to keep Condesa in Yeppoon for another week as the safest option for her and us.
Today's morning coffee routine began well, until no sign of 'Sparky' the boat dog to get excited about me walking up the dock. He is so connected to humans he is always ready, but it appears another dog "Ruff"🐕 didn't like the attention Sparky was getting and so "Ruffed" him up yesterday.
Sparky's owner just informed us, it all happened so fast he was taken to the animal hospital awaiting news. Hopefully he will be ok, he has the right attitude to life and didn't deserve this. Speaking of lively, we heard Sparky has survived a few unprovoked attacks in his short 4years. Believe it or not, he has also come out the other side an electric shock last year. No lie! He bit the computer cable and they smelt him burning. This is word for word... they removed the cord from his clenched jaw and continued with 'he laid back uncharacteristically still with his eyes open for a hour or so. Then he just came good and has never looked back!' 😮 😲
I had to ask about his name. And no, he was named long before the shocking cable incident. 🙉
We were shaken by that news. For us it is electrical stuff ⚡️ we are most aware of with summer storms and yacht masts. Hopefully things won't get rough out there.
So, as we sit it out again, it is only a matter of time for our turn to run home to our favourite people.
Praying for both the weather and Sparky to come good.
28 October 2021 | Hamilton Island heading south
Jenny Gaskell | NE 15-20 knts
Condesa has departed Hamilton Island!
This time she headed left, as oppose to 'the playground' that is the glorious Whitsundays, when you turn right.
So what happens when we spend more than a day at an island resort is that I find it hard to leave. It's unexplainable but I am not the only one. I have read posts of others who suffer anything from sadness to anxiety when they have to leave port (some have a valid reasons of course). I am not as extreme as that, just at odds, a strange phenomenon for me.
I remind myself of the magnificence of Condesa at sea and the blissfully quiet overnight voyages I love spent under a starlit canopy, equaling if not surpassing island days. But the melancholy feelings are real and it would be easier if I knew where it comes from.
Team Condesa have more relevance at sea than tied to the dock, for sure.
So we are underway and Condesa proves her worth getting straight back into the rhythm, the sails too are happy stealing the wind, the dolphins rush to escort us out of the pass. He Who Hums is back on alert and I capture it all watching the Whitsunday islands fade into a picture postcard backdrop of blues and grey from the front of the boat.
The bow is cutting a perfect reflection through the silky smooth water, like some kind or metaphor. The top half on a mission, the mirror image being taken with, both equally crystal clear.
With the course set for another journey of the heart, my time is free to reflect on the happy go lucky island lifestyle we had shared.
The staff were so hospitable. Each and every one of them doing what they do best, be it buggy rentals, or lifesaver at Catseye beach or waitering in the restaurants and cafes, or getting RSI in the ice-cream shop at the shuttle bus stop or mixing cocktails at the pool bar. It was always service with a smile and genuine friendly conversations had.
I witnessed some of the daily turnover of tourists who arrived in their numbers from the minute I opened my eyes every morning. Yet each received the royal treatment like they were the only ones ever to visit Hamilton island. Whatever the formulae is, the island has got it right!
You don't even realise they are running the infrastructure for a small city until you sail past the water plant, fuel storage, cargo stations and the numerous staff quarters nestled amongst the palm trees at the back of the island.
Each night we enjoyed sundowners on top deck and by 9.30pm we heard the laughter and festivities of the off-duty staff, enjoying karaoke as they all belted out the words for every crowd-pleaser song that drifted across the marina. Except for the night our family surpassed their efforts after a few drinks, bringing out the Cher and Tom Jones fans.🤪 You have got to love that!
I said to He Who Hums, if ever I was to run away from home, you may or may not find me working on Hammo. It is all too good to be true on reflection.
Should Condesa keep up this harmonic pace, the three of us will be back home with our family and friends in a few weeks. With that said, I feel a pinch of something to shift my mood. As the song says, only love can hurt like that.
Must be time to leave the bowsprit and join He who Hums for morning tea at the helm to discuss our next anchorage.
He Who Hums, Condesa and me.